Al-Ahram Weekly   Al-Ahram Weekly
6 - 12 April 2000
Issue No. 476
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Issues navigation Current Issue Previous Issue Back Issues

Mubarak and Cohen
AMRAMs TO REPLACE SAMs: After his meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Tuesday, US Defence Secretary William Cohen announced that the US will supply Egypt with a new version of the advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM).
"The US has approved for sale to Egypt a new short-range ground-launched version of the AMRAAM missiles," Cohen told reporters. "When fielded, the missile will upgrade Egypt's air defence system by replacing an older Russian missile, the SAM-6," he said.
Cohen said the two sides still had to work out details of the sale, including timing of delivery. "In terms of what it will cost, that's too early to say at this point," Cohen said.
Cohen said he had urged President Mubarak and Defence Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, whom he met on Monday at Egypt's Defence Ministry, to accelerate a planned purchase of US Patriot anti-missile systems. "Right now it appears to be a budgetary problem," Cohen said.
Cohen also called for step-by-step improvement in Egyptian-Israeli military contacts. "I think there are very positive signs in terms of Egypt's and Israel's military contacts, which will hopefully lead to cooperation," he said, citing a recent conference attended by both Egyptian and Israeli officers at the US army war college in Pennsylvania.
"If we can stress the need for [Egyptian and Israeli forces] to take step-by-step greater cooperation, that would benefit Egypt, and it will benefit the entire region, including Israel," said Cohen, who headed for Jordan after the Cairo talks. Cohen has already visited Israel and will also visit six Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as part of his 12-day trip.
In Jerusalem on Sunday, Cohen had said that he would encourage greater military-to-military contacts between Israel and Egypt as part of a broader US effort to promote multilateral exercises and security cooperation in the region.

Shura debates electoral reform
Securing the Shura Council's approval of government-sponsored amendments of the Political Rights and People's As-embly Laws was no easy task, reports Gamal Essam El-Din

Rallying round the leaders
A rally, organised jointly by a number of opposition parties, asserted their rejection of two government sponsored bills related to political reform. Amira Howeidy attended

The active societal role played by Arab NGOs has put many of these organisations in constant confrontation with their governments. Rasha Saad reports on a conference that debated the relation between the two sides and Mariz Tadros writes about the controversial activities of Egyptian NGOs
Potential partners across the barricades
The Egyptian controversy

Learning about Zionism
A new encyclopedia on Jewish history, religion and politics provoked an animated debate at a Cairo seminar last week. Omayma Abdel-Latif attended

Al-Shaab journalists re-convicted
Three Al-Shaab journalists have been given jail sentences for slandering the agriculture minister. Gamal Essam El-Din reports on round three of a nearly 18-month saga

Fire brigades FIRE-FIGHTERS attached to the interior and defence ministries brought under control at dawn last Thursday a blaze that broke out at the Radio and Television building on the Nile corniche. The fire, which erupted in the central air-conditioning room on the fourth floor, was blamed on a short circuit. According to an Interior Ministry statement, the fire did not affect radio and television broadcasts and work continued normally at the building. The air-conditioning room was burned down as well as Studio 10, situated in an annex to the main building. There were no casualties and a committee of radio and television officials was established to assess material losses. Forensic experts were requested to determine the reason behind the blaze.
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